I overcommitted myself on volunteering with the SFP folks this year, thinking I could do anything at all to help during business hours in September, but aside from that, I feel really good about what I did manage to do to help out this year.
(Reminder to self: it's all right to volunteer for things in July, August, or October, but NOT SEPTEMBER WHEN ITS-RELATED WORK WILL EAT YOU ALIVE, ok?)
I did two half-hour orientation sessions for prospective students (mostly high schoolers) and their parents, and a few local teachers. My goal was to provide an introduction to Caltech, an overview of SURF, a description of what Seminar Day is, and a few tips to help them get the most of it, and then I take questions from them. All in 25 minutes or less. :-) I love doing this sort of thing.
I need to get the latest pamphlets from Admissions and the Alumni Association for alumni recruiters so I'm up to speed on the latest news on campus.
Seriously... I work there every business day, I eat lunch on campus most days, and I still don't know even an overview of everything that's going on!
Last night, we watched Real Genius over dinner, and I dug out my Legends of Caltech and More Legends of Caltech books and a few of my college photo albums. I've been tripping down memory lane for a lot of varied reasons lately, and it seemed pertinent.
And then I read the latest campus newspaper, the first part of this year's catalog, an outreach booklet called Caltech 101, an update newsletter about the capital campaign from last fall, and this year's introduction booklet that all incoming undergraduates get from the Deans Office. Now I know... what I don't know. Or rather, what I want to know more about. But I'm still sure I'm missing out on hearing about something
really cool that's happening, because it's all happening so much all over campus.
I want to see if I qualify to do recruitment meetings in Indiana. If so, the next time I go home to visit my folks, I could have an info session the way one or two guys did when I was in high school.
I want to keep myself more up to date on what the alumni groups are doing.
I want to shift my hours so I have more quiet time in the office to get my backlog of web development and retirement DONE. I'm tired of feeling like I'm too far behind on things to leave my desk or go home.
So after the orientation sessions this morning, I was kind of an outreach floater for the rest of the morning, talking with anyone who had questions and then nearly filling in as a judge in one session because the fellow was running late. Then I went to the session chair training meeting at 11:15, and then lunch at noon. I sat with some SURFers, a high schooler and his Dad, and S, and Roommate. This was her first in-person introduction to SURF, and it felt great to share a window on this part of my Caltech experience with her. Her college experience was so different in some ways from mine; it's been great comparing notes and getting a broader view of the world.
I chatted with random folks for a bit and then we went to chill out in Moore courtyard, and then we made sure all of the AV equipment in the session room was working. I chaired a mini-session, only four talks, in Aeronautics this year. Fascinating stuff.
After that was followup with my session's judge and schmoozing with the other SURF volunteers and the SFP ladies.
The semifinal round of the Perpall Speaking Competition are in November. I heartily encourage anyone within range of Pasadena to attend. http://www.surf.caltech.edu/
I wanted to check if something of mine was still lurking in the undergrad long-term storage area, but we couldn't find it, so it looks like it's been put to other use by now. Since we were already down in the SAC, we did a quick tunnel over to Throop, a slow saunter around Milliken Pond and Beckman Institute, and then found the car and hit Zono Sushi for dinner.
SURF Seminar Day always tesseracts past and present for me. Oci being sick lately has had me thinking about when I got her, too, and that was my first summer SURFing. I feel much closer to the 19 and 20 year old I was when I was SURFing those two summers than I normally do nowadays, and it's a strange feeling. Also, my Caltech entering class' ten year reunion is coming up next spring.
Having Roommate there, talking with her about why I care about SURF and why I care about Caltech, and seeing her reactions to her first batch of SURF talks... it provided some anchor here in the present for me, one I hadn't really figured out that I needed. Rather than getting linked to my past, today somehow felt different, like present was linking with past and past with present. Rather than looking at my present self from the perspective of my younger self, I feel more like I'm looking at my younger self from my present self.
I don't quite have the words to describe what's rattling around between my ears just now, but... ah, at least I've tried. :-)
I wish my parents lived closer so they could come see a day full of SURF talks.
I wish I could somehow hook up a USB drive to my skull and put what this place has meant to me in mental pictures and feelings so that others could just see it and feel it...
Anyway, we just came home and, on a whim, went for a quick soak in the hot tub. It started raining while we were down there, and it felt great.
I now feel something of a cross between a teabag and a baked potato. Ahhhhhhhhhhh.
And now it is time for comfy PJs and hot spiced cider. Mmmmmmm.
What a fantastic day!!